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Washington State: Premera asks for 19.6% hike, pulling out of some counties

This year, Washington State has a total of 16 carriers offering policies on the individual market: 13 via the ACA exchange, plus another 3 selling off-exchange only (one of them, Regence Blue Shield, seems to be selling both on and off exchange, but I might be misunderstanding something there):

2016 insurers with plans approved to be certified by the Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder:

  • Bridgespan Health Company
  • Columbia United Providers
  • Coordinated Care Corporation
  • Community Health Plan of Washington
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • Health Alliance Northwest Health Plan, Inc.
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Washington
  • Moda Health Plan, Inc.
  • Molina Healthcare of Washington, Inc.
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Regence BlueShield
  • United Healthcare of Washington, Inc.

Off-exchange only (?):

  • Asuris
  • Group Health Options
  • Regence Blue Shield of Oregon

The overall approved weighted average rate increase ended up being just 3.9%, which was excellent.

At least two of the carriers above will not be on WA's individual exchange next year: UnitedHealthcare and Moda. It's worth noting that Group Health Cooperative is not one of the ACA-created Co-Ops (and it's in the process of being acquired by Kaiser Permanente anyway).

Anyway, I don't have the 2017 rate requests for most of the carriers in WA yet, but the Spokesman-Review did just post a story with news about Premera Blue Cross (h/t to Rebecca Stob for the heads up):

Premera to stop offering individual health plans in some Eastern Washington counties

One of Washington’s largest health insurance providers will drop most Providence, Swedish and CHI Franciscan providers from its network for individual health insurance plans starting in 2017.

The change will not affect the vast majority of Premera policyholders who are insured through employer-sponsored or Medicare plans.

Premera announced Thursday it would also stop selling individual plans under the Premera name and its subsidiary, Lifewise in 12 Washington counties: Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skagit, Stevens and Yakima.

The change comes a week before the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner is expected to announce rate increase requests for 2017 health insurance premiums. Premera has requested a 19.6 percent rate hike, spokeswoman Melanie Coon said.

About 155,000 Washingtonians have an individual Premera or Lifewise plan purchased through the state health insurance exchange or directly from the Premera website, Coon said. About 17,000 of those people are in one of the affected counties.

OK, so that's a 19.6% weighted average hike request impacting around 138,000 people, plus another 17,000 who will have to switch to someone else.

I'm just making a note of this for future reference; I'll be filling in the other dozen or so carriers in another week or so when the full rate list is released.